I’m not exactly sure of what I expected when I arrived at the annual Dynamic Women of Faith Conference this past Saturday, March 25th. Actually, having woken up bright and early at 5:30am, I’m pretty sure that my only expectation was that I would crash as soon as the event was over. (I’m not what one might call a “morning person” but I digress.) The one thing that I certainly did not expect, however, was to be welcomed by, and to feel so at home with, such a wonderful, faith-filled, dynamic group of women.
I’ll admit, when I walked into the building that morning, I was pretty jaded. I’m sure my experience is not an uncommon one – isolated from like-minded sisters in Christ, one can begin to feel like an oddity. People tend to look at you strangely when you veil at Mass, dress modestly and live chastely, or admit that your greatest aspiration is not to climb the corporate ladder or to make lots of money, but to have a holy marriage, and to be a stay-at-home Mom – and to a number of kids far greater than the usual 1.2, at that. And, as passionate as I am about these things, the curious stares, the derisive, “good luck”s, and the outright disapproval by many can get very old, very fast. No doubt about it – living out our role as Catholic women can be very difficult, especially in an age in which modernism, liberalism, and radical feminism rule the day.
Which is exactly why the Dynamic Women of Faith Conference was such a welcome change. Right from the outset, as we set up our booth, my “momager” and I struck up a conversation with another vendor about everything from veiling to homeschooling. At the Mass, I was amazed by just how loudly and passionately everyone was singing. And as the day progressed, I was able to meet hundreds of other women who share my love for the Catholic Faith, strive to live holy and virtuous lives, and embrace their God-given gift of motherhood.
The speakers, of course, were no exception. I laughed, cheered, and even cried as, one by one, these beautiful, faith-filled women stood up to share their stories.
‘What a change!’ I thought, feeling very much like my beloved Jane at this point. ‘I’m not the only one who thinks this way!’
Sometime throughout this very memorable day, it hit me; this is what female empowerment is all about. It’s not about doing whatever you want, whenever you want, but instead, about choosing to follow Christ and serve Him with abandon. It’s not about being powerful and independent, but instead, about exhibiting that quiet strength and complete dependence on God that was so perfectly present in the life our Our Blessed Mother. And, of course, it’s definitely not about shunning fertility and family life, but instead, about embracing it wholeheartedly, and glorifying God in the daily tasks of changing diapers, wiping errant tears, and giving out lots of hugs.
The world is, at the end of the day, very wrong about us. We are a mystery to it, and no matter how hard it tries, it will never understand us – but our sisters in Christ do. Which is why, I’m really looking forward to next year’s conference. Even if it means waking up at 5:30am.
Isabella Bruno is a certified teacher and self-published author residing in Woodbridge, Ontario. From Jane with Love, a Catholic children’s book about chastity, is her first publication. You can find out more about Isabella on her website, www.isabellabruno.ca.